tv Politics Nation MSNBC April 11, 2021 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
the white house and congress to end the covid-19 pandemic and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, the other is licking its wounds and plotting its political future. sounds like the normal functioning of a healthy democracy, except for one problem. the republican party seems to have decided they cannot win over black and brown voters they have regularly demonized and devalued. so, rather than try, they cheat. it's why the gop is using the power it still retains in the states and the courts to push an agenda of voter restriction. and it's why republicans at the national level are dead set on opposing any policies put forth by democrats, even if they improve the lives of all americans.
and so a republican problem becomes a democratic problem. and here's why. the national democratic party owes its wins over this past six months to minority voters in historically undervalued regions, wins that held congress gave them the senate and won them the white house. but they can't hold onto those majorities if they don't deliver on their policy promises and protect their most fervent supporters' most precious right, the right to vote. how can the democratic party do all that? we have the perfect guest for that question. joining me now is the chairman of the democratic national committee jaime harrison. chairman harrison, let me go right to it. "the washington post" is breaking a story that several corporate executives held an online call saturday to game out whether they will withdraw
political donations to lawmakers and investments in states pursuing voter suppression agendas. what does this say about this moment in how corporations are wielding their power after weeks of threats from republican leaders? >> well, thank you for having me, rev. that's the least that they should do. listen, ultimately, the most sacred right that we have as american citizens is our right to vote. it is a right in which all other rights are built upon in this nation. it's what makes america america. and for one political party to do everything that they can in order to take that right away from certain groups is just -- it's unbelievable, it's unamerican, and nobody should stand for it. no american should stand for it, no business should stand for it. and so let's not invest in folks who don't invest in this great nation of ours. and so it's great to hear that from the corporations, but we
all need to do much more. we need to ramp up the pressure on these republicans and the legislatures that are forcing down these types of bills. we need to ramp up the pressure to republicans in the senate to make sure that we can pass hr-1s1 and the john lewis voting rights act because those are bills that will ensure that the right to vote is one that we all enjoy. >> we had a historical election for democrats, record turnout for joe biden followed by senate wins in georgia. now the both parties are a few months into their agendas. and we already see what the republicans' response is in a ray of voter suppression laws from georgia to texas, arizona, pretty much an electoral insurrection we're seeing in nearly every state. what is the national democratic party going to do to counter it?
>> well, we are fighting on a number of fronts, rev, from working with democrats in statehouses and state senates across this country to push back against these laws and do all that we can there. we are also taking this fight to the courtrooms. we are suing many of these states and we're pushing back on these laws that are being passed and enacted. and we're also ramping up the pressure in congress. you know, just last cycle, we spent tens of millions of dollars fighting in the courtrooms to keep suppressive legislation from moving forward, and we're going to continue to do just that, rev. but we also need folks on the ground to ramp up the pressure. call your members of congress. call your statehouse leaders. let them know that you don't want these type of measures to happen. we are going to do all that we can. every breath in my body is going to be focused on making sure that everybody can enjoy their right to vote.
but we all have to take on that responsibility. can't just be on my shoulders or your shoulders, rev. everybody who believes in america, who believes in the right to vote needs to take some ownership in this in pushing back against this. >> so you're in the courts, you're dealing with a lot of the legislative bodies at the state level. you're appealing to groups and everyone to come out and fight. i know you're speaking this week at our national action network convention. according to a gallup poll released last week, though the number of american voters are identifying as democrats, it's at its highest level since the obama era. 49% of americans identify as democrats, while 40% align with the gop. it certainly explains the suppression campaign we're seeing. but the poll was done at the beginning of the year with the insurrection and the wreckage of the trump administration as the
backdrop. how do you continue to grow the party under the suppression campaign and without a historic villain driving turnout? >> well, right now the contrast between the parties couldn't be any greater. on one side, you have a dumpster fire. you've got a party that likes to play with mr. potato head dolls and read dr. seuss and vote no against any particular legislation that actually helps americans, working people in this country. and, on the other side, you have a country led by a president who believes in america and believes in all her people in making sure that he and democrats can do all that they can do improve the lives of folks right now. that's what you saw in the american rescue plan. that is what you see in the american jobs act. these are pieces of legislation that will improve this country, that will make sure that there are jobs not only for now but
for decades from now, that the quality of life for the american people improves. that's what the democratic party's about. and so i think the numbers are only going to get better because folks see the difference between one party and the clown show on the other side. >> now, the dnc has had one of its most successful fundraising cycles not in a presidential election year, with the combined totals for january and february at more than $18 million. you also have record cash on hand and less debt than ever before. on the other side, though, donald trump took the stage last night at the first rnc donor retreat since the election. and he proceeded to insult republican party leaders for their alleged disloyalty to him. but he's still their fundraising draw, and his own fundraising
pac has more cash on hand than the rnc does. so they put up with him. and so it looks like you will still be putting up with him for some time as head of the opposition. your thoughts, mr. chairman, on this situation? >> i also know, rev, just recently i think there was a "new york times" report that they had this big ponzi scheme on the other side at the rnc in terms of their contributions. they really have a high school cafeteria food fight going on, on the other side. whereas you see democrats working together in order to get joe biden's agenda through congress. and that's really important. and so, listen, if you are watching this, you are seeing the other side. we are trying to build the best ground operation that we've ever seen in this party in the history. and so if you want to join our effort, if you want to push back against what you see going on, on the other side, please go to democrats.org. sign up, volunteer, donate.
>> before i run out of time, i want to remind our viewers that you ran a significant senate race against lindsey graham last year, drawing attention to the south politically. before your party's senate and presidential wins in georgia, this past year. so i'd be shocked if there wasn't now the expectation that the south is in play now that you are in charge of trying to repeat those wins or at least protect them. as a black southern democrat and a student of congressman jim clyburn, i ask you briefly, can your party repeat georgia and not just compete but close the gap in big southern senate races, mr. chairman? >> rev, listen, what we are going to do is we are going to see a new south that is emerging. and you saw it in georgia. i think you will see it in north carolina. we're going to push in florida and texas, south carolina, and
mississippi. if there's any legacy that i want that's being chair, it is to see the democratic party once again be a vibrant party in the south. so it's all about the new south, and that is where our future for the party will be. it will be in this new south. you're going to have some vibrant candidates who are going to run in this new south. and i'm excited to see what happens. >> all right. thank you, mr. chairman harrison. see you later in the week. >> thank you, rev. by the end of this week, though, we may see prosecutors' closing arguments in the trial of derek chauvin for the killing of george floyd. and floyd's brother is expected to take the stand as one of the prosecution's final witnesses. joining me now is mother of the late eric garner and we also have a civil rights attorney. let me start with you. we are especially honored that
you are joining us tonight. you've traveled with me to minneapolis three or four times now over the past year, offering your condolences. and, unfortunately, you shared your experience as a mother of the late eric garner who was killed by police with the same kind of compression that we saw by knee in the case of george floyd, by the arm in the case of your son. and i've seen you as late as tuesday when we were there, shared private moments with the family, because only you and family members know what it is. i've been on a lot of these cases over the decades, as you know through national action network and in that capacity. i worked with your family and did the eulogy at your son's funeral and did it at george's, and in that capacity go back and forward. but i can't feel what you feel, your son gone and their brother gone. can you share anything that you
can that you might've told the family as they go through this difficult time, both in their loss and in their legal fight? >> yes. good evening to the msnbc family. but i would like to say, yes, i stand in solidarity with that family because that family's pain seems so close to what my pain was when my son was killed. and i talked to them, felonis, and rodney, and terrence. i told them from the very beginning, rev, you know when we first went to minneapolis the second or the third day after this incident happened, i said, you know, we have a video, but don't think this is slam dunk. i want to tell you what they did to my son. i said, they blamed him for his own death. i said, so look for that. i don't know how they're going to do it, but in my case, they
said because my son was overweight, his heart was enlarged, that he caused his own death that day. so, you know, it's not a slam dunk. and i told them, you know, several other things about how the defendants were going to throw things at them and going to disparage the character of george floyd, as they did with my son. and myself and, you know, the three brothers, we had a long talk. they were just listening to everything i said. on mass tuesday as i'm talking to the brothers, felonis says, you know, he calls me mother carr. he says, mother carr, everything you told us is coming to pass. and i says, yes, i just wanted the family to be aware because i've gone through that before. >> george floyd's brother
felonis who we talk with and pray with all the time, as well as rodney and terrence, but felonis is slated to take the stand this week. they are going to further illustrate the loss of life to the jury. but some legal strategists say that it could backfire, leaving felonis to be grilled over chauvin's defense or try to get him to say things about his brother's lifestyle, which gwen carr just referred to they did with her son, even though her case never got in court. we had to deal with it with the police department hearings. what do you anticipate as a civil rights lawyer? and could that backfire on the defense if they go the route of trying to use felonis to, in some ways, smear his brother? >> first, thank you, reverend, for having me on tonight. and it's a real honor to share virtual space with you, mrs.
carr, as you continue to serve as a shepherd and support other families who have lost loved ones violently at the hands of law enforcement. and, reverend, you're right, george floyd's brother is scheduled to testify this week. this is a very unique aspect under minnesota law. it's called spark of life testimony. and it came out of a court case in 1985. it allows a district attorney to put on evidence of the deceased person's life during the first guilt/innocence phase of trial. this is the type of evidence that's normally put on during the sentencing phase of a trial. and what's unique about this in minnesota is that it allows jury members to hear that this person had a life. so this will be critical in this trial, because his brother will be allowed to put on testimony about george as a human being. we will get a fuller picture of who he was, the special relationship that george had
with his mother. but you're right that the state has to tread very carefully. the pretrial, there were several motions and discussions, and the judge made it clear that mr. floyd's brother cannot speak about character evidence. so the sort of characterization of mr. floyd as helpful all the time, a gentle giant, this sort of information, while may be true to mr. floyd's brother, opens the door to the defense to be able to cross-examine him. and any type of contact that mr. floyd may have had with the criminal legal system, i'm speaking of george floyd, that can come up if he opens the door to -- >> so he has to stay away from character. let me ask you this, attorney hogue. as this trial is going on, we all now have seen this new video that shows a virginia police
pulling guns on a black army officer during a traffic stop. and according to the serviceman's lawsuit, they threatened to execute him in the parking lot. i want to point out that nbc news reached out to the police and others for comment. your thoughts as a civil rights attorney as you see this army lieutenant and they pepper spray him and drag him out of his car. >> reverend, i reacted to this not just as a civil rights lawyer but as a black person. and as someone who's close to black men and black people in my family, and it was terrifying to watch. it was terrifying to listen to. and my understanding is the lawsuit that was filed is unique. so there's now a civil suit in federal court, and the complaint alleges that the law enforcement officials violated this lieutenant's army lieutenant's
first amendment rights. so they threatened him and said that if he spoke up about this matter, if he filed a complaint, that they would then charge him with a litany of crimes, including resisting arrest, the traffic violation, and obstruction of justice. and so they were trying to limit his speech. and this is a unique type of challenge. usually we see these challenges under the fourth amendment, which protects someone against unlawful seizure and searches that occur, in his case. but this also raises first amendment issues. >> this is different. i'm out of time, but i have to go back to gwen carr. gwen, two or three days george floyd was killed, i called you, and we got on a plane and went out there even before the family from houston had come. we have gone back a couple of times since. you know more than anyone how important it is for family to have people that will be there when the cameras are there and
when they're not, to keep going to have that kind of company. and that's what you seem to have committed yourself for all the way through, because now we're going to hear the defense, and the defense has no option but to try to act like the cause was something other than what the prosecution says, and to probably try and schmear the character of george floyd. >> that's exactly. they really don't have a defense, so they're throwing everything at them that they can. but i told the family, this is going to happen. some of the times you are going to want to walk out of the courtroom. you're not going to want to look at some of the things they present like the autopsy. as in my case, i could not look at the autopsy. i had to walk out of the courtroom. so, don't let them intimidate you, though, because this is what they intend to do. so i have faith in felonis.
he won't let them intimidate him, i don't think. >> all right. thank you both gwen carr and attorney alexis hogue. coming up, how biden's infrastructure plan is a chance for americans to rise up and rebuild our communities that need it the most. but, first, my colleague richard lui with today's other top stories. >> rev, good sunday to you. some of the stories we're watching for you this hour. the u.s. now set a new covid-19 vaccination record on saturday. more than 4 million doses were given. last week's average was over 3 million shots per day. the biden administration hopes all adults are eligible for the vaccine by april 19th. the uk's archbishop of canterbury memorialized prince philip on sunday. the funeral will be held saturday at st. george's chapel at windsor castle. the queen, prince harry and
other members of the royal family will be there. the caribbean island of st. vincent is bracing for more eruptions after a volcano erupted friday. the capital city was covered with rock and ash, making it difficult to breathe. no deaths from the initial blast were reported. scientists warn residents to evacuate. over 16,000 residents have left so far. more "politicsnation" with reverend al sharpston after the break. ter the break. (mom) it sure is. (mom vo) over the years, we trusted it to carry and protect the things that were most important to us. (mom) good boy. (mom vo) we always knew we had a lot of life ahead of us. (mom) remember this? (mom vo) that's why we chose a car that we knew would be there for us through it all. (male vo) welcome to the subaru forester. the longest-lasting, most trusted forester ever. is mealtime a struggle? introducing ore-ida potato pay. where ore-ida golden crinkles are your crispy currency
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for this week's "rise up," i want to talk about the biden administration's proposed infrastructure initiative. it's officially called the american jobs plan. but some democrats are calling it the new new deal as a tribute to one of the most famous progressive successes in american history. franklin delano roosevelt's new deal. >> i pledge you, i pledge myself, to a new deal for the american people. let us all here assembled constitute ourselves prophets of a new order of competence and of courage. this is more than a political campaign. it is a call to arms. give me your help, not to win votes alone, but to win in this
crusade to restore america to its own people. >> that was fdr's 1932 acceptance speech at the democratic convention. and while that speech was nearly a century ago, the united states was dealing with many of the same issues we face today, including a dire economic climate. though contemporary food lines are more socially distanced than their 1932 counterparts, and roosevelt kept his convention promise. his new deal put millions of unemployed americans back to work building thousands of miles of roads and some of the most crucial and enduring infrastructure projects of the 20th century. many of which still stand today. but now nearly a century later, a lot of that crucial infrastructure has fallen into
disrepair, and the vast majority of it needs some serious upgrades for the 21st century. so joe biden made a campaign promise of his own to build back better. and he elaborated on the legislation needed to keep that promise on wednesday. >> and it's a plan that puts millions of americans to work to fix what's broken in our country. tens of thousands of miles of roads and highways, thousands of bridges in desperate need of repair. but it also is a blueprint for infrastructure needed for tomorrow, not just yesterday, tomorrow. for american jobs, for american competitiveness. >> and the american jobs plan would have billions to restore the aging infrastructure. but beyond repairing our past, we also have the chance to look forward into the 21st century and beyond with improvements to
our electric grid, expansion of rural internet access, and major criticism of the new deal is that it didn't do enough to address racial inequities of the time that it was. well, the biden administration has asked for input and ideas from a diverse coalition, so that will not be the case this time hopefully. including input from americans like you. here's how you make your voice heard. it's going to start with a little homework. get online or out in your community and find out which new deal projects still feature in your life. you might be surprised how many high school gyms and public libraries were funded by that fdr campaign promise. then ask your local state and national elected officials how they're planning to protect and
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epidemic to face, even with millions of people quarantining and social distancing, 2020 was a record year for gun deaths in this country, with black and brown communities disproportionately impacted. president biden has been a vocal -- been very vocal about this issue since his days in the senate. and he announced executive action on gun violence at an event thursday. >> we've got a lot of work to do, but i know almost every one of you sitting in the garden here, none of you have ever given up. we're not going to give up now. the idea that we have so many people dying every single day from gun violence in america is a blemish on our character as a nation. >> joining me now is someone who was in the rose garden audience thursday, the founder of life camp inc erica ford.
let me say this. the president announced a series of executive actions including the crackdown on so-called ghost guns and stabilizing braces, publishing red flag legislations for states and more. do you think these moves will have impact on gun violence in america, and is there more the administration can do independent of the congress? >> these -- thank you for having me on, reverend sharpton. and definitely these executive actions are going to have direct impact on lives in communities across america. that the investment in what works around the nation is going to lift up programs that have been saving lives like us in new york city, we were able to reduce gun violence by 40% with the resources that we had. to get extra resources we'll be
able to double, triple that number. when you look around the nation, in chicago in particular, 40 people shot over a weekend, several people killed over and over and over. when you are able to help these people heal, when you're able to give them the tools and the resources that they need to not only get the guns off the street, but heal from the years of trauma, then you're able to see fundamental change. and this is what the executive action that biden did and the hard work that susan rice and her team have been doing with us for the last couple of weeks. >> now, you know, i've known you since you were a teenager. you've been an activist, you've been passionate. but you've been passionate on this issue for as long as i can remember, not trying to be a celebrity about it, just doing the work, being a servant rather than a celebrity. i know you were trained that way. so when i saw you sitting on the front row at the rose garden, i said this must be real because
you're not one that plays the camera game. but in my last segment, i talked about the proposed american jobs plan. but there is so much in it i didn't even get to mention, the proposed $5 billion for violence prevention, for example. what would this kind of money mean in practical terms? you're out there on the ground in the trenches. what could that mean? >> in practical terms, it means you can hire more violence interrupters. you can hire more coalition. you can get more peacemobiles across america. you can do direct work in community where it needs it the most. and so people like me can, you know, get people to be involved. selling chicken dinners or just people volunteering can now get real resources to expand.
we talk about a weekend in new york with no guns, a week in new york where absolutely nobody is killed. that's historical. we did that the resources that we had. so imagine what we can do with more resources. we have 26 sites now in new york city. we can quadruple that. and that's just new york. in other cities, this will be life changing to so many people. gun violence is not something that can't be stopped. with the people, with the tools that they need, we can stop this epidemic. >> and with those tools connected to the right hands underground, not people that just have some academic view but that are really there in the trenches and know what they're doing. at thursday's event when biden announced the executive action, he also called on congress to act, saying that they offered plenty of thoughts and prayers, but they passed not a single new federal law to reduce gun
violence. now, obviously, i believe in the power of prayer. but i also believe in getting out there and translating that prayer into action. do you think this might be the time we finally see some legislative movement on this issue? >> i think that we will, and i hope that we do. i think that senators and congresspeople have to hear the heartbeat of the people in their districts and understand that they're tired of living in the trauma of violence. and so we've said it with sandy hook. we've said it with the number of people being killed across america in black and brown communities. pass the infrastructure bill and allow the streets where so many of our children die to be fixed. where so many of the blood of our children, allow them to be repaired. allow our people to get the oxygen so that they cannot only breathe but they can pump life into their children. it is time for them to act. >> it's serious.
we're dealing a lot with the floyd case. i started to say eric garner, but the george floyd case. three weeks after i did the eulogy for george floyd. i came home to brooklyn and did the eulogy for a 1-year-old kid killed with gun violence just because of a stray bullet. all of that, it was serious on all sides. and we have to be just as serious. we are thankful for people like you that work on this day and night. erica ford, thank you for being with us. >> thank you. coming up, free time and teatimes hasn't done much to improve the mood of the former guy. we'll talk about donald trump's latest airing of grievances with my panel, next. my panel, next hello, everyone, i'm alissa menendez. those with the most to lose and those fighting to protect them. m
welcome back to "politicsnation." we have a lot to get to with my panel. joining me now former chair of maryland democratic party maya rockmore cummings, and "new york times" columnist bret stephens. brett, former president trump was at a closed-door republican donor event last night. he had some pretty colorful things to say about members of his own party. he called senate minority leader mitch mcconnell, quote, a stone-cold loser and an s.o.b. and then made fun of his wife elaine chao. he also went on to say that former vice president pence disappointed him by certifying the election results. what exactly are republicans getting out of continuing to kiss the ring of donald trump if
his main post-presidential past time is to insult them every chance he gets? >> rev, that's an excellent question. i think one analogy that comes to mind, and i know it's not a perfect one, is someone who is in an abusive relationship they can't get away from. and in this relationship donald trump is the abuser, and his republican colleagues are the abused. lord knows they are somewhat complicit in their own predicament. but this has been par for the course from the beginning of the trump ascendancy. he engaged in a hostile takeover of the republican party, and he's still at it. none of this should be surprising to anyone. >> and, maya, trump also went on to bash dr. anthony fauci and the vaccine rollout, calling the
doctor, quote, full of crap, and went on to lament that he does not get enough credit for the vaccine, even saying that he wished they were called, quote, the trumpcine, like vaccine, trumpcine. he says the biden administration doesn't need to respond to every ridiculous statement trump makes about the pandemic. but they do need his supporters to take the vaccine. how do they accomplish that? >> well, i think that they're going to actually have to talk directly to republicans in red states, going on fox news, going on the radio shows that conservatives listening to, and telling them about the efficacy of the vaccine and how it works and, yes, drawing on popular republicans to encourage them to actually take the vaccine. so, if it's certainly celebrities or politicians,
there are a lot of tactics that can be used to encourage conservatives to actually get vaccinated. >> now, bret, i'm sure you remember when in 2011 nancy pelosi called on congressman anthony weiner to resign after private messages were leaked of him engaging in conversations with a 17-year-old, among other allegations. pelosi and other party leaders urged mr. weiner to step down immediately once the story came to their attention. we have seen nothing of that sort from house republicans amid the fallout of the sex trafficking allegations against republican congressman matt gaetz and what he faces. gaetz has not been charged with any crimes and has denied the allegations. democrats have learned to quickly pull the plug on members who've behaved inappropriately, republicans have stalled. will this come back to hurt them?
>> oh, if the allegations are borne out, it certainly will. part of the problem, again, goes back to your earlier question, reverend, which is about trump. i mean, matt gaetz is a kind of mini trump and has been sort of a representative of what the president stands for from the very beginning. i mean, i'm always of the view that people should have an opportunity to at least try to exonerate themselves if they insist that they are innocent. i don't remember that was true of congressman weiner. but if these allegations are true and the republican party holds onto them, it kind of tells you everything you already knew about where the republicans are today. >> now, maya, a poll conducted last week shows that 32% of republican voters polled were for infrastructure improvements with a tax bump. additionally, 42% of republicans polled also supported
improvements, but without tax increases. and only 12% of republican voters said that they did not support infrastructure improvements at all. in polls like this, it shows that a solid chunk of republican voters better infrastructure. yet they pick candidates who do not support it. do you understand this logic? briefly explain this to me. >> so what's interesting is that the trump administration and republicans have four years to deal with infrastructure, and you know, remember, it was the running joke that it was always on the agenda of the trump administration, and he never got around to it. the fact of the matter is that biden understands that republicans and democrats want and need infrastructure across the country. and he's currently basically triangulating by appealing to republican governors and mayors to get support. so this is something that is positive for democrats. it's going to, i think, propel the infrastructure plan forward.
>> all right, maya and brett, my thanks to both of you for being with us this evening. up next, my final thoughts. stay with us. y? why not both? visibly diminish wrinkled skin in... crepe corrector lotion... only from gold bond. (judith) at fisher investments, we do things differently and other money managers don't understand why. (money manager) because our way works great for us! (judith) but not for your clients. that's why we're a fiduciary, obligated to put clients first. (money manager) so, what do you provide? cookie cutter portfolios? (judith) nope, we tailor portfolios to our client's needs. (money manager) but you do sell investments that earn you high commissions, right? (judith) we don't have those. (money manager) so what's in it for you? (judith) our fees are structured so we do better when our clients do better. at fisher investments we're clearly different. ♪ ♪ ♪
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that does it for me. thanks for watching. i'll see you back here next weekend at 5:00 p.m. eastern. my colleague alicia menendez picks up our news coverage now. >> thanks so much, rev. hello, everyone. i'm alicia menendez. we begin with new bad blood between republicans and new fire from donald trump toward his own party and democrats. like only trump can, the former president called for unity by swearing and throwing insults at his political friends and foes. it all happened at the rnc spring retreat last night at mar-a-lago. a true who's who of the gop's wealthiest donor whose came to schmooze with the president and hear how the party is spending their money. but as with all things trump, it didn't go according to